The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a government-funded news organisation that is quite wrapped up in itself. It has radio, online and television news services and a lot of what it broadcasts is about the ABC itself.
TV outlets tend to promote their wares during breaks between programs; the ABC goes one better and treats many of its own programs as being worthy of being news items.
If these were major investigations or ground-breaking programs, then it would be fine. That is not the case; the most trivial program often merits a slot on the ABC News channel that runs around the clock.
There is a curious amount of inward looking footage in every program, with a great deal of focus on the presenter as though he/she is the whole point of the program.
It is worth noting that one of the world’s best documentary makers, Adam Curtis of the BBC, never appears in any of the wonderful documentaries he has made. His voice always comes from off-screen.
But such archaic practices are obviously of no interest at the ABC. The corporation knows it all.
The level of efficiency at the ABC is also worth noting. I witnessed this first hand when eight people from the corporation arrived at the offices of The Age (a major newspaper in Melbourne) to interview the chief executive of its parent company, Greg Hywood, ahead of the paper changing its format to tabloid.
The entire clip with Hywood, when broadcast, took about three minutes. He was interviewed by a woman named Heather Ewart. There were seven other ABC employees along for the ride: one was a cameraman, another held the mike and the remaining five inspected proceedings. Why, one has no idea.
Yet, the ABC always complains that it is under-staffed. But when you need this level of staffing for the kind of interview I have described, that is not surprising at all.